Sometimes it feels like we’ve got it all in control, a new school, a new schedule, a return back to work obligations. We can set the alarm early, burn the midnight oil, pack the school lunch ahead of time, rise up and meet the challenge. Sometimes it all works and everyone thrives.
Sometimes it is simply miserable to leave our children behind and trudge off to work.
It doesn’t mean we don’t care about our jobs or that we lack compassion, or a passion, intent, or drive to serve. It really can mean that we just love our children.
A recent drop-off at school reminded me. I’d woken up early to prepare lunch, get F up for carpool pick-up ,and ready myself for work. But something about the start didn’t feel right. A little twinge in my heart had me muttering, “Sometimes you just wake up feeling sad.” I was missing the boys before they were gone.
I puttered around the kitchen, soaked up the boys at breakfast, and did my best to prop my chin up. It was my turn to drop off O, our 3 year-old, at school. He skipped in the front door, headed straight to the cubby to pop off his shoes, and I signed him in. Just then, the bomb dropped.
As if he could sense my hesitation about the day, he literally death-gripped my legs and looked up,
Pleeeeeeeeaase don’t leave me here, Mommy.
That was all it took. He sobbed, I sobbed. Miserable mess–we’ve been doing this for years –why the salt in my wound today? At minute mark 3 or 4, I realized I was doing no one any good sticking around. I offered up a Kissing Hand, then asked (and was rejected by him) for one in return, and headed off to the car. The day unfolded as one of those days where the ceiling just seems a bit lower.
Sometimes, it’s miserable to separate from our children. Separation anxiety may be my diagnosis, too. But thank goodness it fills the reuniting with magic.
Nurse Ora says
This posting brings back memories of the time I left our newborn son with my best friend so I could work a shift at the hospital. Thanks for the reference on The Kissing Hand!
Emily Gibson M.D. says
The kiss in the hand was something I used starting 20 years ago with our children when I was dropping them off and I’m not sure who taught it to me. I’m thrilled to see it is a book that children and parents can enjoy together.
The separation sobs abate once the separation happens but will always continue when it is the anticipation of the separation. It just feels so wrenching to leave a sobbing child (and be sobbing oneself).
Hang in there!
Karin Rowles says
Heartbreaking-ly great post…thank you! If it’s any consolation, so much of what makes you an amazing pediatrician is that it is obvious (in the way you deal with/empathize with patients and families) you are first and foremost an amazing parent! Thank you for doing all that you do!
Since this is the place to tell it like it is, I’ll share my sadness as the mom of middle-school boys. I had those days with my youngest when I had to leave him in preschool (read “daycare”) when he was just 18 months. He would just wail! I would cry all the way to my next activities. Now I nag to get ready; brush teeth; make lunches; eat breakfast; get socks; everything in the backpack; homework done? I’m giving them more responsibility as is suited to their ages. I nag, then I yell, then I storm to the car and start it up. I’ve left one behind who is ADD and dawdles all morning. I’ve just left them to their devices and waited until they were ready (late). I’ve sat down and planned on Sunday. Most mornings end with someone in tears. I am a very disciplined mom but this kid (the oldest, with ADD, in particular) is beyond challenging. Two weeks into school and I’m already at a loss about how to manage mornings with less agony on everyone’s part. I almost miss the days of tears of sadnass. Now it’s tears of joy that I’m done with it one more time.
Not looking for advice, believe me I get plenty of that! I’m just wanting to share a different story of pain.
I feel you, its when the simple stuff that should not be hard is so hard ALL THE TIME that you feel like running away from home to get a deep breathe that is not filled with anger and frustration for one min. And being a single parent you NEVER get a break. Then having friends give you all this advice when they have lots of financial resoures and a 2 home and extended family to depend on makes you want to scream. Then dealing with the guilt at night feeling like a terrible mother…. Then your so exhausted mentally and physicaly you don’t have the energy to take off your cloths before you fall into bed. Not to mention having no one who understands what your day is like and if you try to tell them about it when they ask, they respond with “sounds like your just complaining to me”…..I hide in my bathroom some times for 30 min and read a cheesy romance novel…takes the edge off… No laughing please
Oh, that is my life now! I love what I do (also in healthcare) but there are some very difficult mornings. Somehow, I hope it all works out in the end and my children feel my love for them. We also started doing the “kissing hand” this year. Hang in there!
Dr. Jacque says
Thanks for the post–it makes me feel like I am not alone.
Everybody says I got everything figured out perfectly. I finished residency in June, and 10 days later my baby girl was born. Waddling to all of those job interviews during my third trimester paid off–I found a practice looking for a pediatrician to start in October, when my daughter will be 13 weeks old. And one of my area’s top-rated daycares is only a mile from my house. Now, with 2 weeks left, I do miss patient care. But every time I think about leaving my precious little girl at daycare I burst into tears. They say she’s too little to miss me, which I hope is true. But I know I am going to miss her like crazy. Luckily or unluckily, it’s hard to hold my little drooler without getting spit bubbles on my shoulder, so maybe that is her way of giving me a kissing hand. When I feel sad during the day, I’ll put my cheek to the stain and feel her kissing me. Though I probably better do it between patients so no one thinks their doctor is off her rocker!
I was very lucky to have a good friend of mine start up a liscenced in-home daycare right when I was heading back to work. My daughter was 12 weeks old the 1st day I left her. Having a friend watching my 3 month old made it fairly easy for me to leave her, even though I missed her terribly during the day. Now my daughter is 2, and almost never has any separation anxiety, even in new situations. She happily walks in the door, gives me a hug and kiss and then goes to find something to play with. If I dawdle too long talking to my friend, she’ll turn around and say “Bye momma!” Maybe as she gets older, she’ll start to want me to stay. I actually kind of hope that happens someday. 🙂